Why TIAA-Cref, Why?

Financial Services for the Greater Good is the tagline for TIAA-CREF – the largest financial services firm serving educators. One would think that by saying greater good they would mean society as a whole – instead it appears to mean their pocketbook!

The New York Times reported yesterday that TIAA-CREF has participated in some very shady agricultural land deals in Brazil. Possibly purchasing land that was taken via intimidation and fraudulent means in land grabs. What further exacerbates the offense is that some of the land borders the Amazon rainforest – where we see acres and acres of slash and burn practices – often used for sugarcane or cattle farming – eliminating the carbon sink and creating a carbon source.

In addition, it appears that they used unethical dealings with a local company to skirt Brazil’s strict land ownership rules. I’m not sure what these guys are thinking!

TIAA-CREF holds itself out to its typically progressive academic clients as a forward-thinking, progressive company – offering it’s very popular Social Choice fund and making the statement that they are working for the greater good. Sounds like another case of greenwashing to me.

It’s bad enough that their “Social Choice” fund owns major polluter and renewable energy impediment, Duke Energy in addition to several other climate change-denying fossil fuel companies. Now this???

It’s time to demand accountability for companies holding themselves out as responsible to the public while making shady backroom deals contrary to their stated mission. Let TIAA-CREF know this kind of behavior is unacceptable.

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